The three former members of the anti-sanitary measures group Les Farfadaas who blocked the Louis-Hippolyte-La Fontaine bridge-tunnel in March 2021, Mario Roy, Steeve Charland and Karol Tardif, were found guilty of mischief and conspiracy on Thursday.
The Crown intends to seek a sentence of 90 days to 6 months incarceration for Mario Roy, whose “leadership” in organizing the blocking of the tunnel was highlighted by Judge Jean-Jacques Gagné. Mr. Roy had also obstructed the tunnel for the first time in December 2020.
The three defendants argued that the blockade was aimed at exposing alleged acts of police brutality that occurred during an anti-sanitary measures demonstration that took place in downtown Montreal during the pandemic.
During the trial, Mario Roy himself filed documents into evidence showing that he considered the blocking of the tunnel to be a “warning” to the police, in which he demanded, among other things, the arrest of Dr. Horacio Arruda.
The judge ruled that the gesture was unreasonable, and that the defendants blocked the work “without regard to the feeling of intimidation potentially felt by the users” of the tunnel. “Streets, sidewalks, squares and parks” are the historic gathering places for such protests, he pointed out, but bridges and tunnels have “no historic use for expressive purposes.” »
The blocking “was primarily intended to disrupt, to provoke,” and the way the blocking unfolded “necessarily involves prior agreement,” the judgment says. “Communicating the message was secondary.”
The magistrate also pointed out that Mario Roy’s testimony during the trial was a “monologue” that went from cock to donkey. “His perception of certain events is affected by his frustrations. His reading of reality is sometimes deficient,” commented Judge Gagné in his written decision.
Mario Roy has already expressed his intention to appeal the decision. “It’s obvious, the judge did not retain the facts with the testimonies that were given,” he complained as he left the courtroom.
Mr. Roy said he was confident of being acquitted when he arrived at the courthouse, but now that he is convicted, he sees the decision as “a political cause”. “Politics had to get involved […] The Crown, they’ve wanted me in jail for a long time because I’m investigating a child abduction ring,” Roy said.
“The judge, I am not surprised by his judgment,” he added, criticizing him for having already granted in 2021 a conditional discharge to an education researcher who filmed the crotch of women and adolescent girls. .
“If I have to do 90 days in jail to demand an end to police brutality, I’m going to do it, with my head held high,” he added.
Steeve Charland and Karol Tardif, who have no criminal history, unlike Mr. Roy, will likely get off without jail time. “There is no way I will impose a prison sentence on Mr. Charland and Ms. Tardif,” Judge Gagné insisted after reading his detailed judgment.
Sentencing will take place on April 19.
Two other defendants in this case, André Desfossés and Patrick Dupuis, pleaded guilty in this case even before the start of the trial. Mr. Dupuis was sentenced to 45 days in prison.